Bryce Canyon NP

Bryce Canyon NP
Bryce Canyon NP

Friday, June 17, 2016

Zion and Bryce Canyon NP with Jasmyne...Utah, a new state for us

Our journey continued with our granddaughter, Jasmyne, as we headed to Hurricane, UT(pronounced - Her-Can). That's how the locals pronounce it. Our plan was to do some hiking and sightseeing in Zion NP. We had a site at Willow Wind RV Park and fortunately it was very shaded. The temps there were in the low 100's.


Sites were fairly close but we had shade. That was important part. This park is located about 30 miles from the west gate to Zion NP. After we got there Glenda started to feel like a cold was coming on. It did so she was unable to do a couple hikes with Jasmyne and I. One of the things I wanted to do at Zion was attempt the hike UP to Angel's Landing. This is a strenuous hike with about 1500 feet of elevation gain. We got to the park early enough to park near the visitors center and then rode the shuttle to Grotto trailhead. The trail starts across the road from the stop. We started our hike with several switchbacks that were in the sun. it was early so not too hot yet. Then as we climbed the trail moved more into the canyon and shade. Up, Up Up we went, back and forth until we got to refrigerator canyon. This is an area that is typically about 15-20 degrees cooler than other parts of the trail.

Waiting for the shuttle

We're going up there behind Jasmyne

Up the swithcbacks

We were down there

Refrigerator Canyon has nice foliage and leads to Walters Wiggles. Walters Wiggles are a set of 21 switchbacks leading to the saddle before the trail out to Angel's Landing.

Refrigerator Canyon

Walter's Wiggles

This is a very steep section of the climb up and I had to stop several times to catch my breath. Jasmyne was very patient and kept encouraging me. I had told her to prepare for this hike but it turns out I needed to prepare more for the hike. This was a lot of cardio. We finally made it to the saddle and had some nourishment before deciding to continue on to Angel's Landing. From the saddle it is a hike out on the spine of a monolithic ridge and up another 500 feet. There are chains and in some sections due to the steepness and narrowness of the trail. In addition it was very crowded and there were points that we had to wait for traffic to clear coming up and going down.

We're going out there

Very technical area

If you enlarge the photo you may be able to see some people

At first Jasmyne wasn't sure she would like to attempt it due to height fears so we just went a little ways out to start. We said "we made it this far, let's do it". So we continued until we got to the summit. What a feeling. The best part was Jasmyne overcame her fears and accomplished an incredible feat. I was so fortunate to have her as my companion and share the experience.

I found some phtos on the internet at hikespeak.com to give you some perspective of what the chains are like and how close you are to the edge in some places.

Going up

On the edge

Hold on tight

At the summit everyone was high fiving each other and offering to take each others photos.

Selfie

Nice guy took our photo

This is the sign before you go out on the ridge

This is a memory that will be with me forever. So happy to be able to attempt and accomplish this goal with Jasmyne. The return trip was more in the sun and I'm glad I heeded the warning and took plenty of water. We stopped a couple times on the wat down to have something to eat and give our knees some rest. Going down can be even more difficult with the pounding of the knee joints.

Going down in the sun

Panoramic view...enlarge

One tired young lady

Our next venture out was with Glenda and that was hiking the Narrows. The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon where you are walking in the Virgin River. This gorge, with walls a thousand feet tall and the river sometimes just twenty to thirty feet wide, is one of the most popular areas in Zion National Park. You can see The Narrows by hiking along the paved, wheelchair accessible Riverside Walk for one mile from the Temple of Sinawava.

We decided to stop at an outfitter near the west gate entrance to the park and rent some canyoneering boots, Neoprene socks and sturdy walking stick. Water temps were about 56 degrees. This would keep our feet warmer in the cold water. Many folks wore just hiking boots, sandals and tennis shoes. We probably could have done something like that but it worked out for us.

Temple of Sinawava is the last stop on the shuttle route

Ready to hike the Virgin River

The bottom of the river is pretty rocky and makes you unstable so the walking stick provided a lot of support. The river current was running pretty quickly too which added to the difficulty. We had to help each other several times along the way.

We're doing this

That's cold

Let me help you Grandma

Let's help each other

We made it


It was very crowded in the river with temps near 100. Lots of folks taking advantage of the cool water and shade in places.

We didn't actually make it to the Narrows section. But got a good work out and saw some incredible landscape.




Very happy we could share this experience with Jasmyne and so glad Glenda was feeling better to make this hike too. I know we all slept well that night.

After our time at Zion, we moved to Hatch, UT. We had reservations at Mountain Ridge RV park in town however when we got there they were doing some cabin construction and only had an awkward semi site available for our size rig. The owner was very apologetic and offered not to honor the reservation(he didn't charge us) and told us about a park about a mile up the road. I called Riverside RV park and they had sites available. We drove on down the road and took a site there. The park is under new ownership and they said they were trying to upgrade it. The sites were very,very close but the owner said they were going to use every other site to give space. That, of course, was a lie. We started out that way the first night but the next day a rig was parked on the back side and the front side. Not happy but not going to move now.

We started like this

Ended like this

So we concentrate on Bryce Canyon NP. We had heard of the hoodoos and that you have to hike down from the rim to get the best views. We drove to the Visitor's Center got our passports stamped and started our tour. We drove to Sunrise Point and walked along the Rim Trail to Sunset Point. Our first glimpse of the hoodoos was spectacular.


We just stood there and marveled at the sight. This is a beautiful area of Utah. After some oooing and aaaahing, we had some lunch and decided to tackle the Queen Garden/Navajo Trail Combo loop. It's an easy to moderate hike. We started at the Sunrise Point and down we went. The views just got more beautiful as we descended.





Lots of switchbacks down



We got down to the loop area and took a short detour to the Two Bridges. Basically rock connected between hoodoos.


Jasmyne had fun going ahead of us and surprising us around a corner or turn.


So glad she was having this much fun. That was my plan from the beginning of this adventure.

Then things got tough, we started back up. Lots of switchbacks that lead to Sunset Point.

Up we go

We were down there

Jasmyne was first to the top and waited patiently as Glenda and I climbed with breaks. Of course I had to stop to get pictures. That's my story.

Thor's Hammer in the background

Loving the Hoodoos

Enlarge the panorama

.So that finished our first expedition. The next excursion we hiked up to Inspiration Point and the Upper Inspiration Point for some more incredible views of the Hoodoos.

Thin air?





This landscape is so unique. No where else have I been where the rock formations look like this.

Every NP that we've been to so far is incredibly different and individual. Utah certainly has much of God's country.

Glenda was still recovering from her cold so we opted to reserve a horseback ride to the bottom the next day. That was a wise choice. We had a great guide named Hank and he really looked the part.
They had both mules and horses. Hank said the mules are actually better in mountain terrain. They're a cross between a horse and donkey. Very sure footed. It was wonderful fun.


New shoes for this mule






Hi O Silver...Away

Hank and the gang

We decided not to do any other more strenuous hikes with Glenda still building her strength but we did do one more to Mossy Cave.

It's a short hike on the north part of the park. We came across a stream and a waterfall.







Turns out the hike there, the stream and the waterfall was the best part. Mossy Cave was just mossy.

We learned a lot with our time at both Zion and Bryce Canyon. We found a nice park in Hurricane and a not so nice park in Hatch. If we get back that way again...and we will. We would stay at Willow Wind RV park again but we would try to get into a park closer to Bryce Canyon.  Just outside the west gate at Bryce there are a couple parks that looked nice and more convenient even though there was more activity there. Our next stop is Heber, UT. We have to send Jasmyne back home and we have the opportunity to visit some friends we haven't seen for some time.

We loved having Jasmyne with us and she was the perfect traveling companion. Can't tell you how much we enjoyed our time together. Congratulations again on your graduation and big step into the real world. Back to reality and work. We miss you and will see you again in July. Love you.




Next up Heber City, UT

3 comments:

  1. Congrats on the Angels Landing Hike. We only did about a 100 ft and turn around, we chickened out.
    Yup, all of Utah's NP is in God's country, each unique and breathtaking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wish I could be like you and do Angels Landing but it ain't going to happen. UT has some of the best NP's, so happy you got to share a few with Jasmyne.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How nice to have that special time with your granddaughter. Congrats on making it all the way up to Angels Landing! Bryce was my favorite park. Just love those colors. We sure enjoyed our time with you two in Palisade!

    ReplyDelete